RealNews

Accused Helper of Al Qaeda Pleads Guilty

A Muslim charged with aiding Al Qaeda pleaded guilty today to a lesser charge and agreed to help in the investigation of a long-sought imam in London, Sheik Abu Hamza al-Masri. The defendant, James Ujaama, pleaded guilty to violating a ban on sending materials or money to Afghanistan when the Taliban governed it. Mr. Ujaama’s lawyer, Peter Offenbecher, said his client had provided computers and money to a girls’ school. The government dropped other charges, including one that accused him of trying to set up a terrorist training camp in Oregon. Other suspects in that case might be charged, said a spokesman for the Justice Department, Bryan Sierra. The plea agreement closes a chapter in the journey of Mr. Ujaama, 37, who in a few years moved from a respected member of the African-American community here to a target of antiterrorism investigations. If convicted on the original charges, Mr. Ujaama could have faced 25 years in prison and $250,000 in fines. With credit for time served and good behavior, he could now be freed in less than a year, his lawyers said. Full Story

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